coview

Screen sharing (co-browsing)

Overview

Modern co-browsing solutions on the market have two technical routes to choose from when it comes to the implementation:

  • Use preconfigured browser instance as a shared proxy and stream its viewport as video to every session participant;
  • Clone the host webpage completely and reconstruct it in a sandboxed environment while watching for changes and applying them on-the-fly for everyone involved.

We went down the latter path for the reasons outlined in the next section.

Advantages

Robust performance

Cloning page structure is the leanest approach. Instead of pushing large chunks of data down to all session participants, we only need to package and send a lightweight, textual DOM representation. Although it might take a few seconds to establish a connection (due to remote asset loading and processing), the session feels smooth afterwards. There is no jitter or visual quality degradation compared to resource-hungry video streams - something your users on underpowered devices and constrained networks will really appreciate.

Focus on customer support and onboarding

Since we can tap into the website's code, users no longer have to locate and send error logs to your support team - you get fully automated coverage in the context of error reporting and bug catching. Having access to network stats also helps to resolve issues faster, and you can use this data as a real-world basis for your website’s performance profiling and monitoring.

On top of that, you can inspect and time-travel through user's screen recordings or co-browsing session replays since those aren't just video streams, but rather snapshots of the webpage at any given moment with every interaction captured into a coherent timeline. This enormously accelerates the issue resolution process by ditching the error reproduction burden altogether.

In terms of customer onboarding, Coview makes for a frustration-free experience as nothing is lost after the connection is closed - things like cookies, shopping cart content and completed registration steps remain intact.

Extended data protection and privacy controls

Our implementation allows you to control what's being sent to our servers from users’ devices during a co-browsing session. Any text content could be marked as forbidden for transfer.

Co-browsing session is always restricted to the current webpage and domain - nothing else is shared outside of this context. Passwords and authentication credentials are never transmitted.

User-friendly experience

No reloads, downloads, installations or redirects. The session is fired up almost immediately and any participant could disconnect by simply clicking on a button.

Shortcomings

As it usually stands, every technological solution embodies tradeoffs and limitations. To achieve aforementioned goals, we had to make certain sacrifices:

  • Agents cannot share their screen and have no way to access any other part of the browser or application on a user's device;
  • Certain cross-site issues prevent Coview from displaying specific iframes;
  • A co-browsing session immediately terminates when browser's cache is flushed;
  • Visual discrepancies could manifest on both sides under certain circumstances.

Updated 6 months ago


Screen sharing (co-browsing)


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